For past few years, people should hear news of people who climb steel tower, advertising tower and live in tent everyday in Korea. Lay-off and temporary position are words that come a lot on picket with rough handwriting. People who forced out on the street was called demonstrators who got fired instead of their own names.
For these people who spend days on the street having no place to whine on, there are people who put their heads together to discuss two years ago. We should not let them sleep on the street. Let them have good night sleep. A deep sleep. That’s how ‘The house of temporary positions : Gguljam’ project. With the money from people who united to help, the house of temporary positions had its opening ceremony on August 19th at Singil-dong, Youngdeongpo-gu, Seoul. Today, we had interview with culture planner, Shin Yu-a who joined Gguljam project to listen to her story.
You got sunburn on your face. You had better wear sunscreen for working.
Yes, last summer was pretty much hot. Even though I wear sunscreen, my sweat washed it away so it doesn’t work.
Tell me about house of temporary positions. How did you start this?
This started from a laid-off worker. He was fired from the subway. After his 10-year long lawsuit for his reinstatement, he finally won. Therefore, he got compensation from the company. Then, his wife suggested that they should spend the money for those who might have hard times just like they did. They visited to activist organization named ‘Network for Making World without Temporary Positions’ to discuss. The story started there. “Why don’t we build houses for people who are trying to get back their rights being homeless?” Yes, it sounds ridiculous. Building houses is not cheap. So we came up with cloud funding. That was winter in 2015.
Did cloud funding go well?
Yes, for first two months, we saved two hundred million won. The money was made by united effort for helping. However, we still were short of the amount of money that we needed -our purpose is to buy a house because we thought renting a house can’t be stable shelter-. Afterwards, many artists united and sold their artworks and we had another fundraising campaign. In that process, we had to stop temporarily due to candlelight rally at Gwanghwamun. October in 2016, the beginning of winter was the time when artists including planner Shin Yu-a who actively participated in Gguljam project was listed on so-called black list of former government. To protest this, for 142 days until the court upheld impeachment on March 20, they set up tent and had sit-in protest.
So, when the real construction started?
We started right after protest. We searched houses while we protested.
I was told you constructed by yourself.
Yes, except electricity and plumbing that require professional skills, everything was done by volunteers. It was such a large-scale construction with total number of about 1,000 people. (laugh)
I heard that there was opening ceremony few days ago. Is there any condition for using that place?
Nothing. Anyone who is in trouble from working at workplace can use. You don’t need to pay for this. We are running by sponsorship. We already have approximately 400 sponsors supporting us every month.
Her tanned face looked untainted just like face of ascetic. The word that comes the most frequently from her was ‘solidarity’. It should be interpreted as hand reaching for others who are in trouble not as political meaning. What made people from similar environment holding out their hands to others who are in blind spots where the country do not protect? On the day of opening ceremony, photographer Noh Soontaek who suffered from hard labor everyday for Gguljam construction posted this on his Facebook.
“Gguljam, the house that going to give me deep-rooted sickness if it is build twice
The house that should be vanished quickly
The house that we build for that reason “
*As of August in 2016, the number of temporary positions is 8.7 million and it occupies 44.3% of total wage earners. (Source : National Human Rights Commission of Korea Temporary Labor Center)